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Hold on to the peace that surpasses all understanding

September 24, 2007

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Some days it rains. We cannot get around that. However, what we can do is seek shelter, raise an umbrella and put on our rain gear to protect ourselves from falling torrents, splashing puddles and lightening strikes. It is the same with the storms of life.

We can just muck along in the gossip, arguments and backbiting or we can choose to rise above it and seek a higher plain on which to stand.

This is an easy thing to say. But, when it comes down to actually turning the other cheek we sometimes balk at it, as too hard. When it comes to actually walking away from angry accusations thrown at you, it is too hard to do. When juicy gossip is floating around that will put you in the know, it is too hard to not listen. When someone has hurt you and you then catch them with their hand in the cookie jar, it is too hard to keep it to yourself.

Turning the other cheek, walking away, not listening, and keeping things to ourselves are not human traits. They are spiritual traits. Learned behavior. These are the keys to having the peace that is promised by Jesus. He will give us this peace, but we must obey to have it.

I fall down a lot in this area of my Christian life. I am too often quick with an angry retort, or push back when I am pushed. I don’t want to do these things; I just do them before I think. The human side of me wants instant satisfaction and revenge. The spiritual side of me is shoved aside as I basically say,” Wait a minute Jesus, I’ll handle this one.” He does not argue with me, He lets me proceed to make another mistake, because I choose to do this rather than remember the lessons I have been taught in the past. Obeying Him is always a choice; it is never forced on me.

I am always sorry afterward. I often feel shame for not obeying and living the example He gave His all to teach us. Yes, He forgives me, but when will I learn? How many times do I have to trip into this pitfall before I see I need to take another path? How much damage do I do to my creditability as a Christian?

If you preach it, you had best be living it. There are those always waiting and watching for you to fall so they can say, “I thought you said so and so.” And if they can see when my actions do not match, what I say, then they can see when they do match and this is my witness for Jesus.

It takes a long time to undo the harm and damage I do to my witnessing ability when I keep making the same mistakes over and over again. Satan knows what buttons to push. He knows I hate injustice and he uses this against me. Hating injustice is a good thing, but not when you try to change things on your own. The fight is Jesus’ and He has already won it.

He does not want me to fly angrily into the fray, screaming and pushing, demanding to be heard. He does not want me to use the methods of those that I seek to show a better way. How can I tell someone that His way is better if I do not live it myself? Who would listen? Who would believe me?

No, what He wants is for me to follow His example and take the venues He has opened for me. I do not get to choose the terms of engagement, the battle plan if you will.  He will always provide a way to do His work if that is what He wishes you to do. He has more ways and means at His disposal than I can ever hope to imagine. You have to do it His way or not at all.

I do not get to pick and choose who I would like to see saved by Christ. He chooses, and He does not tell me who they are sometimes. To be sure that I do not do more damage than good, I must be the same all of the time, treating everyone the same. He was not a respecter of persons, neither should I be.

Friend or foe, He loves us all and sees the good in each of us. It is His choice as to who should be punished and how and when. Not mine. My part is to show His love to everyone I come in contact with. Yes, this is another thing that is so hard to do. But I try to remember that we sometimes entertain angels unbeknownst to us. And that I too was once wandering around lost and He chose to save me. Do I wish to deny others the same blessing that was freely given to me? Heavens no!

I use to laugh at the way some of the Jewish men would wear a Tefillin on their foreheads and hands. These are small boxes with scriptures in them. The first is from Deuteronomy 6: 4-9 and says, “And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes….”  I no longer laugh at this practice. It makes sense to me. It is to help them to remember. I need one that says, “There but by the grace of God, go I.”

I could remember better, if I spent more time in my Bible and less time wondering about what others are doing and saying. Those things are none of my business. His word is my business. It should be my primary business.

I suppose that what brought about me writing this blog today is the dismal way I failed yesterday at work. I became so angry that my blood pressure shot up enough to turn my face red. My anger did nothing to resolve the problem. However, I did not want to wait until Monday, when Human Resources are open. I wanted things done then, in my time, not in Christ’s chosen time. Therefore, I did a lot of damage to my reputation as one who is a Christian.

I was not the injured party. It was a shy sweet little Hispanic woman who barely speaks English. But you understand anger in any language when someone is screaming in your face. She was frightened and did not even know what was going on. A foul-mouthed bully was giving us all a hard time, but the Hispanic woman took the brunt of it. She was so thankful for my coming to her aid that she spent the rest of the day running over to my job to help me.

Now this is heart warming to me, but…! She may not be the one that Jesus had in mind for me to witness to. Maybe it was the foul-mouthed woman. At any rate, my behavior was deplorable and I am ashamed of how I handled the incident. I do not know if the damage can be undone. I am in pain because I may be that woman’s last chance to get to know Jesus. It is true that her actions appeared driven by Satan, but it is also apparent that mine were too.

I have to answer for my actions but if she is lost, God may call me to account for her soul too. He knows now that I am so sorry for what I did. He has forgiven me, of this I am sure. However, even with forgiveness there are always consequences and this weighs heavy on my heart now.

Since I love Jesus, I should not have such a hard time holding on to the peace He gives to us. But by my own willfulness, I have let go of this prized gift from my Lord and Savior. My prayer is that He will in His great mercy allow me to redeem myself at work and again be a good witness for Him.